Defense treaties affect support for military operations

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As tensions continue to rise between Ukraine and Russia, the United States is sending thousands of troops abroad to strengthen NATO’s allies against the threat.

However, Ukraine is not a NATO member, and President Joe Biden said he would not send troops to the besieged countries.

There is probably a very specific reason for that.

New research from the University of Georgia suggests more support from Americans Military action In foreign countries when the United States has existing defense treaties with those countries. Since the United States does not have such an arrangement with Ukraine, it will probably be difficult to strengthen support for military action to protect the country.

“Given what we found in our study, what the United States is doing makes perfect sense to me,” said the corresponding author of the study, Josiah Maygs Special Education, Faculty of Public International Affairs. Professor Jeffrey Beresikian said. “When Russia first invaded Ukraine, President Obama said the red line is NATO with which we have an alliance. We defend NATO. Byden makes the same clear. I am expressing. Public support Behind the idea without forming an alliance. “

Defense treaties affect the tolerance of civilian and military deaths

Was announced in Modern security policy, Studies have found that Americans are more likely to support military action when reminding them of their international commitments.They are also more tolerant of both Civilian casualties With the death of the invading country and the US military.

Political leaders are often vague when discussing the need for military action, often saying that drone attacks and the like are in the interests of national security, according to Beresikian. But in other cases, they are really concrete and cite international agreements leading up to the chapters and articles in which they appear.

“What we have found is that public opinion can be driven by how the problem is constructed,” said Beresikian, a senior researcher at the Center for International Trade and Security. “If you see Political leader Very specific about US legal obligations to NATO, Japan or South Korea, they are probably about to shift public opinion In support of that policy.

“It doesn’t mean they want to go to war, but it may mean they think we might have to go.”

Moral obligations to protect US allies

The survey consisted of two surveys, each involving more than 1,500 people.

In the first investigation, a group of nationally representative people were informed about the potential military crisis between the North and South. Half of the participants were informed about the US alliance with South Korea. Others were not.

Researchers have found that those informed about the defense treaty are more supportive of military action to protect South Korea. The biggest impact was on those identified as political independence.

The second experiment was constructed in the same way as the first experiment, but researchers are more specific about the treaty, citing the part that requires the United States to protect South Korea in the event of a country attack. Provided information.

Participants in all parties were more supportive of military action when more detailed information about the treaty was provided. And they were more open to potential casualties, both Korean civilians and US military personnel.

“When we reminded the people of the promises of the previous alliance, we found that they thought we had to obey our words morally,” said Beresikian. “Another reason for supporting military action was a more realistic concern. If the United States makes a promise and breaks it, our reputation will be damaged.”

This view is particularly relevant to the Ukrainian crisis.

“In a sense, if it’s important to say,’This is our position, this is not our position,’ you are increasing the credibility of your willingness to go to war,” said Beregian. rice field. “I think that’s our current situation. By over-promising to countries that aren’t allied with us, we’re providing support in a way that doesn’t undermine our promise to NATO.”

This study was co-authored by Florian Justone, who is currently an associate professor at the University of Idaho and a PhD graduate of the Faculty of Public International Affairs.

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For more information:
Jeffrey Beresikian et al., Defense Treaty Increases Domestic Support for Military Action and Casualty Resistance: Evidence from US Research and Experiments, Modern security policy (2022). DOI: 10.1080 / 13523260.2021.2023290

Quote: The Defense Treaty was obtained from on February 15, 2022 (February 15, 2022). ) Affects support

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Defense treaties affect support for military operations

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